around the frame jul 2011 – our experiences


Hi Frances,

I loved Gail’s poem, “The Paper Palace” in the May’11 Ninepatch. I could really relate. I was also drawn to Simon’s poem, “The Second Step.” I related to his experi-ence with the Quakers at their boarding school.

I also find the Quakers’ “light within” or “quiet voice within” very reassuring. Their acceptance of diversity is particularly appealing — especially now when there seems to be so much angst among peoples of the world.

Even though I was brought up in another protestant denomination, when I discovered the Quaker tradition I felt so comfortable in their meetings I said, “I think I was born a Quaker!”




Palma (June ‘11) adds, “Frances wrote that she was heating water in the micro-wave for bowl baths and that was enough roughing it for her. I agree. A little bit goes a long way. Imagine the people who used to live that way all the time! I’m glad and grate-ful I have so many conveniences on a regular basis.”




Hi Frances,

I enjoyed reading your June’11 story about using the gym. I could relate to your internal struggle toward exercise. In fact, I just experienced something quite similar.

I hadn’t been going to the gym regularly for a few weeks. I was resting a sore knee. It’s funny how quickly “rest” turned into “retirement,” and depression set in.

Before I knew it, I was indulging in comfort foods (read: carbs), and even with my vegan diet, my jeans were starting to feel tight. I knew a gym visit was long overdue, but something kept holding me back — that familiar inertia. Depression makes me lose all perspective.

It’s exactly like you said, I knew intellectually that exercise will lift the mood, but I couldn’t bring myself to take action. Eventually, I asked my fiancé, to pick me up after work so we could go to the gym together.

At the gym, my first steps on the elliptical (jogging machine) felt like trudging through knee-deep mud. The next day, I was tired, but I forced myself to go to my usual Power Yoga class. I anticipated a tough time get-ting back into the flow of things, but afterwards I felt much lighter — much more “myself.”

My brain had reawakened and I wondered why I had waited so long to exercise.

On that note — I plan to go to the gym tonight!

Take care,



Theresa (June’11) adds, “I’m excited to see my name in the June’11 Ninepatch!

I feel so honored.”



Hi Frances,

Lovely weather here. Trying to keep up with housework.

I must tell you that reading this last Ninepatch was tough. So much emotion I had to put it down and come back to it — twice! So glad the second half was lighter writing!

The pain in one of the letters was like watching a bug on it’s back struggling to right itself. I want to reach out and flip it over! But, every one must find his/her own way.

Time to get on with ironing. Think I’ll try to find a movie to watch while I do.




Georgene(June’11) adds, “I’ve gotten my air tickets to go home to see my sick brother and to attend my high school reunion. My husband is going to stay home this trip.

We’ll see how that goes.”



Dear Frances,

I had a terrible, terrible time at my college class last night. We got tested on something that was apparently sent by computer and I didn’t receive it or didn’t know how to get it. I wanted to die! I ended up with nightmares showing misery over what had been going on.

But, a couple of nights before I had a dream that I woke up and Pope John Paul was lying beside me! (I think it is because I got out an old Time magazine he was in to work on my paper about crusades and Catholic Church beginnings.) John Paul was just there to tell me, “It’s going to be OK,” which of course, it is.

On the other hand, when a person has my type of anxious personality, sometimes worry can override everything else.

See you soon!




Barbarajean(May ’11) adds, Frances told me she dreamed about a shiny Holy Spirit. Sounds like the ‘Ghost Whisperer’ TV show…one of my faves!”



Dear Frances,

You asked how working away from home is going. Oh, it’s going … it’s going. Not my preference still, but the husband and I did our budget and it’s a pretty good thing I got the job. I’m doing what must be done. My eventual goal is to get my own business going. But that’s going to take working — once I am up and running – almost full time at home.

Right now, I’ve been rather sad — sad about money, sad about not being with

my daughter, and sad that I can’t have another baby like we’d planned. Last winter, before I started this job, we’d been trying for another baby and I did get pregnant, with twins.

Something about the pregnancy always felt wrong, though. It wasn’t anything specific, but I just knew that

everything wasn’t going to be a-ok when I met with the multiple birth specialist.

At the second ultra-sound, we were told that both babies had passed. I was only just out of the first trimester, but be-cause there had been two

babies, I had to have surgery, which made the whole miscarriage process so much more intense and upsetting.

Sorry to be such a rain cloud in my response! Hope you’re having a lovely summer thus far!




Christa (June’11) adds, “I am finding time for sewing, at least altering some clothing to make it work appropriate or turning some pants into shorts

for Paloma. Nothing too creative, unfortunately!”



Dear Frances,

Hello! How are you? Thanks for the Ninepatch!

I noticed something when reading my recent letter. My husband, the kids and I got along better back then. That’s all changed now, but some things still are the same. I like to read, write and still work on my hook-rug sometimes. (See next page.)

My counselor gave me a book to read, The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans. I see myself in so many of those stories. My low self-esteem has lead to many wrong decisions. I put the control of my life into others’ hands — like my mother and my husband. Of course my husband didn’t want me to read the book. He got mad. I have to read it when he is not around.

My part of staying out of the arguing cycle is to count to ten, walk away or get busy doing something else like cleaning the house, or talking to my dad.

Thanks for listening.



LindaSue (June ’11) adds, “Next I may read a book mentioned in my present one. It’s by George R. Bach: Stop! You’re Driving Me Crazy .



Dear Frances,

We had a good trip North even though our car there had flat tires and our mobile home had developed plumbing leaks.

Repairs went as smooth as possible. Through it all, my husband pretty much kept his cool. He continues to now be a person I’m glad to call my husband.

On my recently deceased son’s birthday in May, my husband and I went to the National Cemetery in Massachusetts to place his ashes in repose. Now he is completely at rest.

Though I continue my course of grief I am feeling better. Despite losses, aches and pains, I have acceptance. I feel I have no cause for any-thing except gratitude and joy. It’s true!

I love you,



Nancyann (Mar. ’11) adds, “I miss my “Florida Family”, including Frances, of course.”



Dear Frances,

It’s a long story, but the horses, Katie and Shaman, are no longer going to be part of our lives. Tough decision since they’ve been consuming a big part of our time. But an

easy one, too.

I got bucked off of Shaman again last week, and it hurt nearly as much as when Katie bucked me off. I am getting too old for rough falls. My husband and I just can’t seem to get horses that fit our experience levels.

And, to top it off, Bill got bucked off yesterday, and fell over with the horse. All while I was on the phone, watching from the house! I was terrified. I said to myself, “This is it! I can’t see the person I love injured. We can’t do this anymore. Besides, if Bill gets hurt, we are bankrupt and will lose the house.”

So, the decision became easy. Bill is sad, but he’s looking at the sunny side — no horse chores in the winter. He usually goes along with whatever I want, but I asked him to help me make this a mutual decision.

At this point, I don’t know if I will ever ride again — I think my horseback page has turned.

Take care,



Linda Rosenthal(June ’11) adds, “Sure has been a lot of stuff in my life about horses — maybe it’s not a page turned, but a whole chapter of my life I am closing.”



Hello Frances,

Uncle Jerry is doing much better. He is on a lot of alternative vitamins and somehow that seems to work. They cost a lot of money and as long as it makes Uncle Jerry feel better, then it is worth all the money in the world.

He seems to be getting stronger and has more energy. We only eat vegetables, no meat and special juices in the morning. (Some of them he doesn’t like such as wheatgrass and beet juice.)

It is hard work to be a caregiver. I miss my children and my co-workers. Perhaps there is another reason why I had to take a leave of absence.

When Uncle Jerry rests, I work on my manuscript. It is almost finished. Then I need to make the outline, synopsis and find a publisher.

As you’ll remember, we had a lot of trouble in the apartment we had to move

to. I figured out it was jinxed. Finally I found someone who was able to drive those evil entities out!

Since that day Uncle Jerry is getting better. It seems our luck is turning, slowly.

Good luck and keep in touch.

As always,

Your Friend, Lotte


Lotte(Apr.’11) adds, “Uncle Jerry is in bed.”




Imperfection and improvement

dwell in

the same house.


James (June ’11) adds, “May they be helpful residents.”

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